Monday, July 23, 2018

International Perspective on Health Effects of Low Intensity Non-Ionizing Radiation

Thermal and non-thermal health effects of low intensity non-ionizing radiation: 
An international perspective
Belpomme D, Hardell, L, Belyaev I, Burgio E, Carpenter DO. Thermal and non-thermal health effects of low intensity non-ionizing radiation: An international perspective. Environ Pollut. 2018 Jul 6; 242(Pt A):643-658. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.07.019.


• Exposure to electromagnetic fields has increased dramatically.
• Electromagnetic fields at low and non-thermal intensities increase risk of cancer in animals and humans.
• Some individuals are particularly sensitive and develop a syndrome of electrohypersensitivity.
• There is an urgent need to recognize hazards associated with excessive exposure to non-thermal levels of electromagnetic fields.


Exposure to low frequency and radiofrequency electromagnetic fields at low intensities poses a significant health hazard that has not been adequately addressed by national and international organizations such as the World Health Organization. There is strong evidence that excessive exposure to mobile phone-frequencies over long periods of time increases the risk of brain cancer both in humans and animals. The mechanism(s) responsible include induction of reactive oxygen species, gene expression alteration and DNA damage through both epigenetic and genetic processes. In vivo and in vitro studies demonstrate adverse effects on male and female reproduction, almost certainly due to generation of reactive oxygen species. There is increasing evidence the exposures can result in neurobehavioral decrements and that some individuals develop a syndrome of "electro-hypersensitivity" or "microwave illness", which is one of several syndromes commonly categorized as "idiopathic environmental intolerance". While the symptoms are non-specific, new biochemical indicators and imaging techniques allow diagnosis that excludes the symptoms as being only psychosomatic. Unfortunately standards set by most national and international bodies are not protective of human health. This is a particular concern in children, given the rapid expansion of use of wireless technologies, the greater susceptibility of the developing nervous system, the hyperconductivity of their brain tissue, the greater penetration of radiofrequency radiation relative to head size and their potential for a longer lifetime exposure.


"In spite of a large body of evidence for human health hazards from non-ionizing EMFs at intensities that do not cause measureable tissue heating, summarized in an encyclopedic fashion in the Bioinitiative Report (, the World Health Organization (WHO) and governmental agencies in many countries have not taken steps to warn of the health hazards resulting from exposures to EMFs at low, non-thermal intensities, nor have they set exposure standards that are adequately health protective. In 2001 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, 2002), part of the WHO, declared ELF-EMFs to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, and in 2011 they made a similar declaration for RF-EMFs (Baan et al., 2011; IARC, 2013). The classification of RF-EMFs as a “possible” human carcinogen was based primarily on evidence that long-term users of mobile phones held to the head resulted in an elevated risk of developing brain cancer. One major reason that the rating was not at “probable” or “known” was the lack of clear evidence from animal studies for exposure leading to cancer. The US National Toxicology Program has released preliminary results of a study of long term exposure of rats to cell phone radiation which resulted in a statistically significant increase in brain gliomas, the same cancer found in people after long-term cell phone use, and schwannomas, a tumor similar to the acoustic neuroma also seen after intensive mobile phone use (Wyde et al., 2016). Similar results in rats have been reported in an independent study at the Ramazzini Institute with exposures similar to those from a mobile phone base station (Falcioni et al., 2018). This evidence, in conjunction with the human studies, demonstrates conclusively that excessive exposure to RF-EMF results in an increased risk of cancer. In light of this new evidence for cancer in rodents in response to prolonged exposure to mobile phone frequencies, the IARC rating should be raised at least to “probable” (Group 2A) if not “known” (Group 1).

Unfortunately the International EMF Project of the WHO, which is part of the Department of Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health in Geneva, has consistently minimized health concerns from non-ionizing EMFs at intensities that do not cause tissue heating (WHO, 2014). In this regard WHO has failed to provide an accurate and human health-protective analysis of the dangers posed to health, especially to the health of children, resulting from exposure to non-thermal levels of electromagnetic fields. The Department of Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Disease takes its advice on the issues related to human health effects of non-ionizing EMFs from the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Almost all members of the core group preparing the new Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) document for the WHO are members of ICNIRP (Starkey, 2016; Hardell, 2017), a non-government organization (NGO) whose members are appointed by other members. In spite of recent efforts to control for conflicts of interest, ICNIRP has a long record of close associations with industry (Maisch, 2006). When queried as to why the WHO would take recommendations from such a group, WHO staff replied that ICNIRP is an official NGO which works closely with the WHO. Why this should exclude other scientific research groups and public health professionals is unclear, particularly since most members of ICNIRP are not active researchers in this field. We are particularly concerned that a new WHO EHC document on RF-EMFs is scheduled to be released soon, and that the members of the EHC Core Group and the individuals whose assistance has been acknowledged are known to be in denial of serious non-thermal effects of RF-EMFs in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary (Starkey, 2016; Hardell, 2017).

Others have dismissed the strong evidence for harm from ELF- and RF-EMFs by arguing that we do not know the mechanism whereby such low energetic EMFs might cause cancer and other diseases. We have definitive evidence that use of a mobile phone results in changes in brain metabolism (Volkow et al., 2011). We know that low-intensity ELF- and RF-EMFs generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), alter calcium metabolism and change gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms, any of which may result in development of cancer and/or other diseases or physiological changes (see for many references). We do not know the mechanisms behind many known human carcinogens, dioxins and arsenic being two examples. Given the strength of the evidence for harm to humans it is imperative to reduce human exposure to EMFs. This is the essence of the “precautionary principle”."

"Based on case-control studies there was a consistent finding of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma associated with use of mobile phones. Similar results were found for cordless phones in the Hardell group studies, although such use was not reported by the other study groups. The findings are less consistent for meningioma although somewhat increased risk was seen in the meta-analysis of ipsilateral mobile phone use. A longer follow-up time is necessary for this type of slow growing tumor."

"There are other significant human health hazards of concern. There is strong animal and human evidence that exposure to RF-EMFs as well as ELF-EMFs reduces fertility in both males (reviewed by McGill and Agarwal, 2014) and females (Roshangar et al., 2014) … There is evidence that isolated human sperm exposed to RF-EMFs are damaged by generation of reactive oxygen species (Agarwal et al., 2009)."

"Exposure to RF-EMFs has been reported to increase neuropsychiatric and behavioural disorders (Johansson et al., 2010; Divan et al., 2012), trigger cardiac rhythm alteration and peripheral arterial pressure instability (Havas, 2013; Saili et al., 2015), induce changes in immune system function (Lyle et al., 1983; Grigoriev et al., 2010; Sannino et al., 2011, 2014) and alter salivary (Augner et al., 2010) and thyroid (Koyu et al., 2005; Mortavazi et al., 2009; Pawlak et al., 2014) function."

"Children, and especially fetuses, are more vulnerable than adults for most environmental exposures (Sly and Carpenter, 2012) ….

Divan et al. (2008) reported that prenatal and to a lesser degree postnatal exposure to cell phones is associated with emotional and hyperactivity problems in 7-year old children. This finding was confirmed in a second replicative study involving different participants (Divan et al., 2012). Birks et al. (2017) used data from studies in five cohorts from five different countries (83,884 children) and concluded that maternal mobile phone use during pregnancy increased the risk that the child will show hyperactivity and inattention problems. A meta-analysis involving 125,198 children (mean age 14.5 years) reported statistically significant associations between access to and use of portable screen-based media devices (e.g. mobile phones and tablets) and inadequate sleep quality and quantity and excessive daytime sleepiness (Carter et al., 2016)…."

"The specific absorption rate (SAR)-based ICNIRP safety limits were established on the basis of simulation of EMF energy absorption using standardized adult male phantoms, and designed to protect people only from the thermal effects of EMFs. These assumptions are not valid for two reasons. Not only do they fail to consider the specific morphological and bioclinical vulnerabilities of children, but also they ignore the effects known to occur at non-thermal intensities…."

"There is a segment of the human population that is unusually intolerant to EMFs. The term “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” or “electrohypersensitivity (EHS)” to describe the clinical conditions in these patients was first used in a report prepared by a European group of experts for the European Commission (Bergqvist et al., 1997). Santini et al. (2001, 2003) reported similar symptoms occurring in users of digital cellular phones and among people living near mobile phone base stations ….

In summary it is the strong opinion of the authors that there is presently sufficient clinical, biological and radiological data emanating from different independent international scientific research groups for EHS, whatever its causal origin, to be acknowledged as a well-defined, objectively characterized pathological disorder."

"Arguments used in the past to attempt to discount the evidence showing deleterious health effects of ELF-EMFs and RF-EMF exposure at non-thermal SAR levels were based on the difficulties encountered in understanding the underlying biological effects and the lack of recognized basic molecular mechanisms accounting for these effects. This is no longer the case. There are a number of well-documented effects of low intensity EMFs that are the mechanistic basis behind the biological effects documented above ( These include induction of oxidative stress, DNA damage, epigenetic changes, altered gene expression and induction including inhibition of DNA repair and changes in intracelluar calcium metabolism …."

"EMFs at non-thermal intensities may interfere with other environmental stressors, showing an interplay of molecular pathways and resulting in either beneficial or detrimental health effects, depending on the nature and conditions of co-exposures (Novoselova et al., 2017; Ji et al., 2016). One example is the demonstration that RF-EMF exposure modulates the DNA damage and repair induced by ionizing radiation (Belyaev et al., 1993). Another example is the synergistic of exposure to lead and EMFs on cognitive function in children described above (Choi et al., 2017; Byun et al., 2017). These co-exposure factors should be considered when assessment of detrimental effects, including carcinogenicity, is performed."

"Public Health Implications of Human Exposure to EMFs

The incidence of brain cancer in children and adolescents has increased between 2000 and 2010 (Ostrom et al., 2015). Gliomas are increasing in the Netherlands (Ho et al., 2014), glioblastomas are increasing in Australia (Dobes et al., 2011) and England (Philips et al., 2018) and all brain cancers are increasing in Spain (Etxeberrua et al., 2015) and Sweden (Hardell and Carlberg, 2017). The latency period between initial exposure and clinical occurrence of brain cancer is not known but is estimated to be long. While not all reports of brain cancer rates show an increase, some do. The continually increasing exposure to EMFs from all sources may contribute to these increases. The prevalence of EHS is unknown, but various reports suggest that it is between 1 and 10% of the population (Hallberg and Oberfeld, 2006; Huang et al., 2018). Male fertility has been declining (Geoffroy-Siraudin et al., 2012; Levine et al., 2017). EMFs increase the risk of each of these diseases and others. Alzheimer's disease is increasing in many countries worldwide and its association with ELF-EMF occupational exposure has been clearly demonstrated through several independent epidemiological studies (Davanipour and Sobel, 2009; Sobel et al., 1996; Qiu et al., 2004) and a meta-analysis of these studies (García et al., 2008). A recent meta-analysis (Huss et al., 2018) has reported an increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in workers occupationally exposure to ELF-EMFs.

Safety limits for RF exposure have been based (until today) on the thermal effects of EMFs. But these standards do not protect people, particularly children, from the deleterious health effects of non-thermal EMFs (Nazıroğlu et al., 2013; Mahmoudabadi et al., 2015). Each of these diseases is associated with decrements in health and quality of life. Brain cancer patients often die is spite of some improvement in treatment, while EHS patients present with increased levels of distress, inability to work, and progressive social withdrawal. The ability for humans to reproduce is fundamental for the maintenance of our species.

The scientific evidence for harm from EMFs is increasingly strong. We do not advocate going back to the age before electricity or wireless communication, but we deplore the present failure of public health international bodies to recognize the scientific data showing the adverse effects of EMFs on human health. It is encouraging that some governments are taking action. France has removed WiFi from pre-schools and ordered Wi-Fi to be shut off in elementary schools when not in use ( The State of California Department of Public Health has issued a warning on use of mobile phones and offered advice on how to reduce exposure (State of California, 2017). There are many steps that are neither difficult nor expensive that can be taken to use modern technology but in a manner that significantly reduces threats to human health.

It is urgent that national and international bodies, particularly the WHO, take this significant public health hazard seriously and make appropriate recommendations for protective measures to reduce exposures. This is especially urgently needed for children and adolescents. It is also important that all parts of society, especially the medical community, educators, and the general public, become informed about the hazards associated with exposure to EMFs and of the steps that can be easily taken to reduce exposure and risk of associated disease."

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Effects of Cell Phone Use on Adolescents

Cohort study of adolescents' memory performance & brain dose 
of microwave radiation from wireless EMF

Foerster M., Thielens A., Joseph W., Eeftens M., Röösli M. (2018) A prospective cohort study of adolescents' memory performance and individual brain dose of microwave radiation from wireless communication. Environmental Health Perspectives.


BACKGROUND: The potential impact of microwave radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) emitted by wireless communication devices on neurocognitive functions of adolescents is controversial. In a previous analysis, we found changes in figural memory scores associated with a higher cumulative RF-EMF brain dose in adolescents.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to follow-up our previous results using a new study population, dose estimation, and approach to controlling for confounding from media usage itself.

METHODS: RF-EMF brain dose for each participant was modeled. Multivariable linear regression models were fitted on verbal and figural memory score changes over 1 y and on estimated cumulative brain dose and RF-EMF related and unrelated media usage (n=669–676). Because of the hemispheric lateralization of memory, we conducted a laterality analysis for phone call ear preference. To control for the confounding of media use behaviors, a stratified analysis for different media usage groups was also conducted.

RESULTS: We found decreased figural memory scores in association with an interquartile range (IQR) increase in estimated cumulative RF-EMF brain dose scores: −0:22 (95% CI: −0:47, 0.03; IQR: 953 mJ=kg per day) in the whole sample, −0:39 (95% CI: −0:67, −0:10; IQR: 953 mJ=kg per day) in right-side users (n=532), and −0:26 (95% CI: −0:42, −0:10; IQR: 341 mJ=kg per day) when recorded network operator data were used for RF-EMF dose estimation (n=274). Media usage unrelated to RF-EMF did not show significant associations or consistent patterns, with the exception of consistent (nonsignificant) positive associations between data traffic duration and verbal memory.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings for a cohort of Swiss adolescents require confirmation in other populations but suggest a potential adverse effect of of RF-EMF brain dose on cognitive functions that involve brain regions mostly exposed during mobile phone use. 


We found preliminary evidence suggesting that RF-EMF may affect brain functions such as figural memory in regions that are most exposed during mobile phone use. Our findings do not provide conclusive evidence of causal effects and should be interpreted with caution until confirmed in other populations. Associations with media use parameters with low RF-EMF exposures did not provide clear or consistent support of effects of media use unrelated to RF-EMF (with the possible exception of consistent positive associations between verbal memory and data traffic duration). It is not yet clear which brain processes could be potentially affected and what biophysical mechanism may play a role. Potential long-term risk can be minimized by avoiding high brain-exposure situations as occurs when using a mobile phone with maximum power close to the ear because of, for example, bad network quality.

Note: The original study appears below (Schoeni et al., 2015).

Open access paper:


The effects of EMF on the endocrine system 
in children and adolescents

Sangün Ö, Dündar B, Çömlekçi S, Büyükgebiz A. The Effects of Electromagnetic Field on the Endocrine System in Children and Adolescents. Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2015 Dec;13(2):531-45.


Children are exposed to various kind of non-ionizing radiation in their daily life involuntarily. The potential sensitivity of developing organism to the effects of radiofrequency (RF) signals, the higher estimated specific absorption rate (SAR) values of children and greater lifetime cumulative risk raised the scientific interest for children's vulnerability to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). In modern societies, children are being exposed to EMFs in very early ages. There are many researches in scientific literature investigating the alterations of biological parameters in living organisms after EMFs. Although the international guidelines did not report definite, convincing data about the causality, there are unignorable amount of studies indicating the increased risk of cancer, hematologic effects and cognitive impairment. Although they are less in amount; growing number of studies reveal the impacts on metabolism and endocrine function. Reproductive system and growth look like the most challenging fields. However there are also some concerns on detrimental effects of EMFs on thyroid functions, adrenal hormones, glucose homeostasis and melatonin levels. It is not easy to conduct a study investigating the effects of EMFs on a fetus or child due to ethical issues. Hence, the studies are usually performed on virtual models or animals. Although the results are conflicting and cannot be totally matched with humans; there is growing evidence to distress us about the threats of EMF on children.


Does exposure to environmental radiofrequency electromagnetic fields 
cause cognitive and behavioral effects in 10-year-old boys?

Calvente, I., Pérez-Lobato, R., Núñez, M.-I., Ramos, R., Guxens, M., Villalba, J., Olea, N. and Fernández, M. F. (2016), Does exposure to environmental radiofrequency electromagnetic fields cause cognitive and behavioral effects in 10-year-old boys?. Bioelectromagnetics, 37: 25–36. doi: 10.1002/bem.21951.


The relationship between exposure to electromagnetic fields from non-ionizing radiation and adverse human health effects remains controversial. We aimed to explore the association of environmental radiofrequency-electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) exposure with neurobehavioral function of children.

A subsample of 123 boys belonging to the Environment and Childhood cohort from Granada (Spain), recruited at birth from 2000 through 2002, were evaluated at the age of 9–11 years. Spot electric field measurements within the 100 kHz to 6 GHz frequency range, expressed as both root mean-square (S
RMS) and maximum power density (SMAX) magnitudes, were performed in the immediate surrounds of children's dwellings. Neurocognitive and behavioral functions were assessed with a comprehensive battery of tests. Multivariate linear and logistic regression models were used, adjusting for potential confounders.

All measurements were lower than reference guideline limits, with median S
RMS and SMAX values of 285.94 and 2759.68 μW/m2, respectively. Most of the cognitive and behavioral parameters did not show any effect, but children living in higher RF exposure areas (above median SRMS levels) had lower scores for verbal expression/ comprehension and higher scores for internalizing and total problems, and obsessive-compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorders, in comparison to those living in areas with lower exposure. These associations were stronger when SMAX values were considered.

Although some of our results may suggest that low-level environmental RF-EMF exposure has a negative impact on cognitive and/or behavior development in children; given limitations in the study design and that the majority of neurobehavioral functioning tasks were not affected, definitive conclusions cannot be drawn.


November 19, 2015

Two recently published studies on adolescents report harmful effects of mobile phone use. A cross-sectional study found that adolescents who were awakened by a mobile phone at least once a month during the night were more likely to report tiredness, rapid exhaustibility, headache and physical ill-being. A prospective cohort study found that greater wireless radiation exposure predicted lower memory test performance.

Symptoms and cognitive functions in adolescents
in relation to mobile phone use during night

Schoeni A, Roser K, Röösli M. Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Adolescents in Relation to Mobile Phone Use during Night. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 29;10(7):e0133528. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133528. eCollection 2015.


Many adolescents tend to leave their mobile phones turned on during night, accepting that they may be awakened by an incoming text message or call. Using self-reported and objective operator recorded mobile phone use data, we thus aimed to analyze how being awakened during night by mobile phone affects adolescents' perceived health and cognitive functions.

In this cross-sectional study, 439 adolescents completed questionnaires about their mobile phone use during night, health related quality of life and possible confounding factors. Standardized computerized cognitive tests were performed to assess memory and concentration capacity. Objective operator recorded mobile phone use data was further collected for 233 study participants. Data were analyzed by multivariable regression models adjusted for relevant confounders including amount of mobile phone use.

For adolescents reporting to be awakened by a mobile phone during night at least once a month the odds ratio for daytime tiredness and rapid exhaustibility were 1.86 (95% CI: 1.02-3.39) and 2.28 (95% CI: 0.97-5.34), respectively. Similar results were found when analyzing objective operator recorded mobile phone use data (tiredness: 1.63, 95% CI: 0.94-2.82 and rapid exhaustibility: 2.32, 95% CI: 1.01-5.36). The cognitive tests on memory and concentration capacity were not related to mobile phone use during night. Overall, being awakened during night by mobile phone was associated with an increase in health symptom reports such as tiredness, rapid exhaustibility, headache and physical ill-being, but not with memory and concentration capacity.

Prevention strategies should focus on helping adolescents set limits for their accessibility by mobile phone, especially during night.


Among Swiss adolescents, we have observed that nocturnal mobile phone use was associated with an increase in health symptom reports such as tiredness, rapid exhaustibility, headache and physical ill-being, but not with memory and concentration capacity. More studies to investigate these associations are necessary and education in sleep behaviour may be inevitable since the mobile phone is now the most familiar lifestyle factor for adolescents.

Public Health prevention strategies should focus on helping adolescents set limits for their accessibility by mobile phone, especially during night.

Open Access Paper:


Memory performance, wireless communication and exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: A prospective cohort study in adolescents

Schoeni A, Roser K, Röösli M. Memory performance, wireless communication and exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: A prospective cohort study in adolescents. Environ Int. 2015 Oct 13;85:343-351. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.09.025.


• This is a prospective cohort study with approx. one year of follow-up.
• Self-reported and operator recorded mobile phone use data were collected.
• The cumulative RF-EMF dose for the brain and for the whole body was calculated.
• Associations were stronger for RF-EMF dose than for use of wireless devices.
• RF-EMF exposure might impair memory performance in adolescents.


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to investigate whether memory performance in adolescents is affected by radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) from wireless device use or by the wireless device use itself due to non-radiation related factors in that context.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective cohort study with 439 adolescents. Verbal and figural memory tasks at baseline and after one year were completed using a standardized, computerized cognitive test battery. Use of wireless devices was inquired by questionnaire and operator recorded mobile phone use data was obtained for a subgroup of 234 adolescents. RF-EMF dose measures considering various factors affecting RF-EMF exposure were computed for the brain and the whole body. Data were analysed using a longitudinal approach, to investigate whether cumulative exposure over one year was related to changes in memory performance. All analyses were adjusted for relevant confounders.

RESULTS: The kappa coefficients between cumulative mobile phone call duration and RF-EMF brain and whole body dose were 0.62 and 0.67, respectively for the whole sample and 0.48 and 0.28, respectively for the sample with operator data. In linear exposure-response models an interquartile increase in cumulative operator recorded mobile phone call duration was associated with a decrease in figural memory performance score by -0.15 (95% CI: -0.33, 0.03) units. For cumulative RF-EMF brain and whole body dose corresponding decreases in figural memory scores were -0.26 (95% CI: -0.42, -0.10) and -0.40 (95% CI: -0.79, -0.01), respectively. No exposure-response associations were observed for sending text messages and duration of gaming, which produces tiny RF-EMF emissions.

CONCLUSIONS: A change in memory performance over one year was negatively associated with cumulative duration of wireless phone use and more strongly with RF-EMF dose. This may indicate that RF-EMF exposure affects memory performance.


... From a public health point of view potential effects of chronic exposure are more relevant, which needs to be investigated with epidemiological studies. So far there has only been one community-based epidemiological study investigating effects of mobile phone use on adolescents' memory. Abramson et al. (2009) showed in a cross-sectional analysis of 317 seventh grade students from Australia that mobile phone use was associated with faster and less accurate response on a number of tasks involving the memory. Since similar associations were found in relation to the number of SMS (short text messages), which produces negligible RF-EMF exposure, they speculated that these behaviours may have been learned through the frequent use of a mobile phone and may not be the consequence of mobile phone radiation. In a follow-up investigation one year later, in 236 of these students, an increase in mobile phone use was associated with a reduction in response time in one out of three tests involving the memory (Thomas et al., 2010). This study relied on self-reported mobile phone use only, which has been shown to be inaccurate. Adolescents tend to substantially overestimate their amount of mobile phone use (Aydin et al., 2011; Inyang et al., 2009).

Regular mobile phone use may affect adolescents in various ways. Thus, the main challenge for research consists in differentiating between RF-EMF radiation effects and other non-RF-EMF related effects from mobile phone use. For instance, frequent texting or gaming on a mobile phone may facilitate cognitive processes (Abramson et al., 2009). It was also observed, that calling and sending texts during night was associated with poor perceived health symptoms such as tiredness, rapid exhaustibility, headache and physical ill-being (Schoeni et al., 2015; Van den Bulck, 2007). Other studies showed that frequent mobile phone use was associated with anxiety (Jenaro et al., 2007), unhealthy lifestyle (Ezoe et al., 2009), depression (Yen et al., 2009) and psychological distress (Beranuy et al., 2009). Thus, to address RF-EMF effects of wireless communication devices, the development of a RF-EMF dose measure, which incorporates all exposure relevant factors, is inevitable.

Memory performance was assessed with a standardized, computerized cognitive test battery (IST, Intelligenz-Struktur-Test 2000R (Liepmann et al., 2006)). Verbal and figural memory was measured with the subtest of the IST. In the verbal memory task, word groups have to be memorized in one minute time. After 1 min the study participants give an account of the word groups that have been memorized. In total 10 points can be achieved by remembering the correct word groups. In the figural memory task, pairwise symbols have to be memorized in one minute time. After 1 min one part of the pairwise symbols is shown and the matching part has to be found. A total of 13 points can be achieved. For both the verbal and figural tests, 2 min is given to complete the test. Memory performance is considered as the right number of remembered word groups or symbols, respectively. For the statistical analyses of verbal and figural memory the continuous test score values
were used as outcome. Every test was conducted once at baseline and once at follow-up investigation.

In this study we considered objectively recorded data on mobile phone use collected from the Swiss mobile phone operators as well as self-reported data on wireless communication devices usage obtained from a written questionnaire referring to the 6 months period prior to each examination. In terms of RF-EMF related exposure measures we inquired about call duration with own or any other mobile phone (referred to as duration mobile phone calls), call duration with cordless (fixed line) phone and duration of data traffic on the mobile phone, e. g. for surfing and streaming. The duration of gaming on computers and TV and number of all kind of text messages (SMS, WhatsApp etc.) are not, or only marginally relevant for RF-EMF exposure and were thus inquired to be used as negative exposure control variables in the analyses.

Informed consent to obtain objectively recorded mobile phone use data from the mobile phone operators was given by 234 out of 439 study participants and their parents. This included duration of each call and on which network (GSM or UMTS) it started, number of SMS (text messages) sent per day and amount of volume of data traffic (MB/day). Data were obtained for up to 18 months, 6 months before baseline until follow-up investigation.

A particular strength of this study is the longitudinal design. To the best of our knowledge this is the first longitudinal study on memory performance in adolescents using not only mobile phone call duration as an exposure proxy, but calculating RF-EMF dose measures derived from objectively recorded operator data and propagation modelling. Compared to a cross-sectional design where changes over time cannot be assessed andwhere reverse causality is of concern, longitudinal studies allow for more robust conclusions.

.. Most relevant contributors for the brain dose are calls on the GSM network (on average 93.3% for the whole sample based on self-reported data and 58.7% for the sample with operator data using operator recorded information) followed by calls with the cordless phones (4.2% and 21.0%, respectively). For the whole body dose, calls on the GSM network (on average 66.9% for the whole sample and 19.5% for the sample with operator data), the use of computer/laptop/tablet connected to WLAN (12.0% and 29.1%, respectively) and data traffic on mobile phones over WLAN (8.1% and 22.3%, respectively) counted for the most part. Less important for the dose measures were exposure from radio and TV broadcast transmitters (brain dose: 0.1% and 0.4%, respectively; whole body dose: 0.3% and 0.9%, respectively) and mobile phone base stations (brain dose: 0.6% and 3.5%, respectively; whole body dose: 2.0% and 4.8%, respectively).

... media usage measures which are not, or only marginally associated with RF-EMF were not associated with figural memory performance (e.g. sending text messages, playing games, and duration/volume of data traffic on the mobile phone). On the other hand, mobile and cordless phone use,which involves RF-EMF exposure, tended to be negatively correlated, although not statistically significant, whereas the dose measures were significantly correlated in many models. The relative high correlation between dose measures and self-reported and objectively recorded mobile phone call duration respectively, limits the possibility to disentangle effects due to RF-EMF exposure or due to other factors associated with mobile phone use.

Since we found stronger associations between RF-EMF doses and figural memory but not verbal memory, one could speculate that this might be due to different brain areas involved in the verbal and figural memory tasks. The type of information being processed determines the brain activity during encoding and retrieval and as a consequence brain activity patterns during figural memory tasks differ fromthose observed during verbal memory tasks. During figural memory processes, encoding elicits bilateral prefrontal activity and retrieval increases the activity in bilateral or right-sided temporal regions and in bilateral prefrontal regions (Beason-Held et al., 2005; Roland and Gulyas, 1995; Wagner et al., 1998). During verbal encoding increases in prefrontal and temporal brain activity in the left hemisphere can be seen (Heun et al., 2000; Iidaka et al., 2000; Reber et al., 2002; Strandberg et al 2011) and during verbal retrieval the activity in bilateral or rightsided prefrontal regions, bilateral or left-sided temporal regions and the anterior cingulate are increased (Beason-Held et al., 2005; Buckner et al., 1998; Cabeza et al., 1997). Stronger overall effects observed for figural memory processes predominantly involving the right hemisphere compared to the verbal memory tasks mostly involving the left hemisphere is compatible with the fact that 81.2% of the study participants reported at follow-up to mainly use mobile phones on the right side but only 18.8% on the left side or with no laterality preference. Strikingly, our laterality analyses indicated indeed stronger associations for right side users for the figural memory task whereas the reverse pattern was seen for the verbal task. However, the sample size of the laterality analysis was small for the subgroup with left side or no side preference for mobile phone use (n= 80).

We considered a number of potential confounders and adjusted model estimates were relatively similar to the crude model estimates, which indicates that confounding seems not to have a substantial impact on the results. Nevertheless, we cannot exclude that we have missed a relevant confounder ....


The observed striking pattern with more consistent associations for RF-EMF dose measures compared to usage measures and no indications of associations for negative control exposure variables may indicate that RF-EMF exposure affects the figural memory of adolescents. However, given the complex correlation structure for various exposure measures and the uncertainty in the RF-EMF dose calculation, the observed associations need to be interpreted with caution.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

International Scientist Appeal on Electromagnetic Fields & Wireless Technology

International EMF Scientist Appeal

Jul 10, 2018

Two hundred forty-two (242) scientists from 41 nations including 38 from the U.S. have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal. All have published peer-reviewed research on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and biology or health -- totaling more than 2,000 papers on EMF in professional journals. In addition, ten scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on related topics have signed this petition.

The Appeal calls on the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) including all of its member states and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to adopt more protective exposure guidelines for EMF and wireless technology in the face of increasing evidence of health risks.These exposures are a rapidly growing form of worldwide environmental pollution.

Links to more than 50 news stories published in over two dozen nations can be found on the Appeal web site under media coverage.

Sep 20, 2017

Two hundred thirty-five (235) scientists from 41 nations including 33 from the U.S. have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal. All have published peer-reviewed research on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and biology or health. 

Mar 10, 2016

Over one hundred EMF advocacy and education nongovernmental organizations from 23 nations have signed a letter in support of the International EMF Scientist Appeal.  The letter was prepared by the IEMFA, the International Electromagnetic Fields Alliance

The letter calls upon all governments throughout the world to ... recognize that exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is an emerging health and environmental crisis that requires a high priority response; review currently available EMF exposure information that demonstrates harm to humans and nature; revise current EMF exposure guidelines and propose how they can be lowered; and adopt precautionary measures to reduce EMF exposure.

Feb 8, 2016

Two hundred and twenty scientists from 41 nations have signed the International EMF Scientist AppealAll have published peer-reviewed research on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and biology or health. In addition, nine scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on related topics have signed this petition.

The nations with the most signatories are the United States (with 29), Italy (19), South Korea (15), Turkey (15), India (12), China (11), United Kingdom (11), Canada (9), Brazil (8), Iran (8), Australia (7), Spain (7), Germany (6), Sweden (6), Finland (5), Greece (5), and Russia (5).

Dec 22, 2015

The European Journal of Oncology published the text of the International EMF Scientist Appeal in its December edition. The journal publishes contributions in the various areas of oncology including biology, epidemiology, pathology and clinical medicine.
International Appeal: Scientists call for protection from non-ionizing electromagnetic field exposure. European Journal of Oncology. 20(3/4): 180-182. 2015.
We are scientists engaged in the study of biological and health effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF). Based upon peer-reviewed, published research, we have serious concerns regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices. These include–but are not limited to–radiofrequency radiation (RFR) emitting devices, such as cellular and cordless phones and their base stations, Wi-Fi, broadcast antennas, smart meters, and baby monitors as well as electric devices and infra-structures used in the delivery of electricity that generate extremely-low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF EMF).

Oct 15, 2015

Two hundred fifteen scientists from 40 nations have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal

Jun 25, 2015

WHO: It's time for a change

The World Health Organization promotes the radio frequency radiation guidelines adopted by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Many countries have adopted these guidelines to serve as their regulatory standards for wireless radiation exposure from cell phones, Wi-Fi, and other wireless devices.

ICNIRP has 14 members on the commission. ICNIRP recently announced that is calling for nominations to serve on the Commission from 2016 to 2020. To be eligible for membership, one must be nominated by the Executive Council of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) or an IRPA Associate Society.

IRPA, the international professional society for radiological protection, was created by health physicists with expertise in ionizing radiation. The Executive Council consists of 12 members including seven physicists, two engineers, a nuclear technologist, a biochemist, and an M.D. biologist. Their expertise and the primary focus of their association has been on protection from ionizing radiation. So it is reasonable to question why the eligibility criteria for ICNIRP membership requires that ICNIRP members be nominated by IRPA or its affiliates since ICNIRP’s domain is non-ionizing radiation protection.

Do the selection criteria for ICNIRP membership explain why ICNIRP has not adopted biologically-based guidelines to protect people from non-ionizing radiation?

ICNIRP should be composed of members who possess a comprehensive and deep understanding of the scientific literature regarding chronic, low intensity exposure to non-ionizing radiation and biology or health. In addition, these experts should be unbiased and should not have even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Recently, 206 scientists signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, a petition which claims that "the ICNIRP guidelines do not cover long-term exposure and low-intensity effects" and "they are insufficient to protect public health."  All of these scientists have published peer-reviewed research on non-ionizing radiation protection.
"The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) established in 1998 the “Guidelines For Limiting Exposure To Time-Varying Electric, Magnetic, and Electromagnetic Fields (up to 300 GHz)”[1]." These guidelines are accepted by the WHO and numerous countries around the world. The WHO is calling for all nations to adopt the ICNIRP guidelines to encourage international harmonization of standards. In 2009, the ICNIRP released a statement saying that it was reaffirming its 1998 guidelines, as in their opinion, the scientific literature published since that time “has provided no evidence of any adverse effects below the basic restrictions and does not necessitate an immediate revision of its guidance on limiting exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields."
Perhaps, it is time for the WHO to replace ICNIRP with an expert committee that has greater expertise regarding non-ionizing radiation protection and use this committee to establish the WHO guidelines for wireless radiation. 

Jun 8, 2015

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D. submitted the International EMF Scientist Appeal along with the Press Release and a description of the Appeal to the Federal Communications Commission in response to an FCC request for input regarding its radio frequency radiation regulations which were adopted in 1996 (Proceeding Number 13-84).

These three documents can be downloaded from FCC web site at

A summary of key documents submitted to the FCC under Proceeding Number 13-84 is available at

Jun 4, 2015

The "International EMF Scientist Appeal" has generated more than 48 news stories in 26 nations written in 21 different languages attesting to the global reach of this petition.

May 16, 2015

On Monday, May 11th, 190 scientists from 39 nations submitted an appeal to the United Nations, the UN member states, and the World Health Organization (WHO) requesting they adopt more protective exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology* in the face of increasing evidence of risk.These exposures are a rapidly growing form of environmental pollution worldwide. 

*(e.g., cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, wireless devices, cell towers, wireless utility meters).

The “International EMF Scientist Appeal” asks the Secretary General, UN affiliated bodies and all member nations to encourage precautionary measures, to limit EMF exposures, and to educate the public about health risks, particularly to children and pregnant women.

To date, the petition has been signed by 200 EMF scientists from 40 countries -- each has published peer-reviewed research on non-ionizing EMF and biology or health -- about 2,000 scientific papers in all. 

The web site launched last Monday has been visited by people in 119 countries attesting to the global reach of this emerging public health crisis. The site contains information about this "wake up call" from the scientific community including a 3-minute video announcing the Appeal by Dr. Martin Blank, a past president of the International Bioelectromagnetics Society who has had over 30 years of experience conducting EMF research at Columbia University.

The International EMF Alliance has begun to collect endorsements of the Appeal from non-governnmental (i.e., non-profit) organizations around the world.]

May 11, 2015


International Scientists Appeal to U.N. to Protect Humans and Wildlife from Electromagnetic Fields and Wireless Technology

WHO’s conflicting stance on risk needs strengthening, says 190 scientists

New York, NY, May 11, 2015. Today 190 scientists from 39 nations submitted an appeal to the United Nations, UN member states and the World Health Organization (WHO) requesting they adopt more protective exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology in the face of increasing evidence of risk. These exposures are a rapidly growing form of environmental pollution worldwide.

The “International EMF Scientist Appeal” asks the Secretary General and UN affiliated bodies to encourage precautionary measures, to limit EMF exposures, and to educate the public about health risks, particularly to children and pregnant women.

The Appeal highlights WHO’s conflicting positions about EMF risk. WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified Radiofrequency radiation as a Group 2B “Possible Carcinogen” in 2011, and Extremely Low Frequency fields in 2001.  Nonetheless, WHO continues to ignore its own agency’s recommendations and favors guidelines recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). These guidelines, developed by a self-selected group of industry insiders, have long been criticized as non-protective.

The Appeal calls on the UN to strengthen its advisories on EMF risk for humans and to assess the potential impact on wildlife and other living organisms under the auspices of the UN Environmental Programme, in line with the science demonstrating risk, thereby resolving this inconsistency.

Martin Blank, PhD, of Columbia University, says, 
"International exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields must be strengthened to reflect the reality of their impact on our bodies, especially on our DNA. The time to deal with the harmful biological and health effects is long overdue. We must reduce exposure by establishing more protective guidelines.”
Joel Moskowitz, PhD, of University of California, Berkeley, says, 

“ICNIRP guidelines set exposure standards for high-intensity, short-term, tissue-heating thresholds. These do not protect us from the low-intensity, chronic exposures common today. Scientists signing the Appeal request that the UN and member nations protect the global human population and wildlife from EMF exposures.”
International EMF Scientist Appeal, Description of the Appeal and Spokesperson Quotes:

Video Statement (3 min.) by Spokesperson Martin Blank, PhD:
     (An HD version of the video statement is available on request.)


Elizabeth Kelley, MA, Director             Joel Moskowitz, PhD                                        School of Public Health, UC Berkeley               

Friday, July 6, 2018

Recent News Stories

Following are some news stories I contributed to ....

Lynne Peeples. Should cell phone providers warn customers of health risks? Berkeley says yesMcClatchy Washington Bureau, July 11, 2018.

Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie, THE NATION, March 29, 2018.

Are you carrying your cellphone too close to your body?

Nara Schoenberg, Chicago Tribune, Jan 26, 2017

Katia Savchuk, California Magazine, Oct 18, 2016

Markham Heid, TIME Magazine, Sep 28, 2016

Study results support push for tougher standards to protect humans from potential health effects
Ryan Knutson, Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2016 

U.S. Cellphone Study Fans Cancer Worries
Researchers found incidences of tumor in rats exposed to low-level radio waves, reigniting debate over safety
Ryan Knutson, Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2016
Joel Moskowitz & Larry Junck, Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2016

At C.D.C., a Debate Behind Recommendations on Cellphone Risk 
Danny Hakim, New York Times, Jan 1, 2016

Does Cell-Phone Radiation Cause Cancer?
David Schipper, Consumer Reports, September 24, 2015

Simon Hill, Digital Trends, April 21, 2015

Hablan los expertos. ¿Es la radiación del teléfono móvil realmente peligrosa? (Spanish translation)

This West Virginia town has gone radio silent: Greetings from the quiet zone
Steve Featherstone, Popular Science, Mar 16, 2015

Wireless Radiation: What Scientists Know and You Don’t with Dr. Joel Moskowitz
Patti and Doug Wood, WBAI-FM, Mar 10, 2015

Mobile Phone Update
Kathryn Borg, Times of Malta, Feb 15, 2015

Wearable Technology Poses Newfound Health Risks
Karin Wasteson, GlamMonitor, Feb 7, 2015

Are wireless phones linked with brain cancer risk?
Ronnie Cohen, Reuters Health, Nov 11, 2014

Experts: Why wearable tech could pose health risks
Brooke Crothers, Fox News, Oct 20, 2014
Have an iPhone 6? Make sure you hold it this far away from your body
Hope Gillette, Saludify, Oct 10, 2014

Descubre los Niveles de Radiación de los iPhone 6 y iPhone 6 Plus de Apple
Patricia Alvarado, iPadizate (Spain), Oct 7, 2014

Cellphone Boom Spurs Antenna-Safety Worries
Many Sites Violate Rules Aimed at Protecting Workers From Excessive Radio-Frequency Radiation
Ianthe Jeanne Dugan and Ryan Knutson, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 2, 2014

Precaution or Paranoia? Berkeley May Require Cancer Warning Stickers for Cell Phones 
Sabin Russell, California Magazine, Aug 19, 2014

日用手機30分 腦癌機率爆增3倍 

Wang Zi Yin, Chinese Health Network (Taipei), August 13, 2014